Wild-ass Wooden Wooten
Faced with the choice of blowing $300 on a crackly rare funk LP with a water-damaged sleeve or a crisply remastered Japanese reissue CD for roughly one-10th the cost, I'll naturally go for the latter every time. Imagine my delight, then, at discovering the venerable Tokyo-based P-Vine label has put out a 24-bit remaster of the highly sought-after Wooden Glass Live album that funky vibes virtuoso Billy Wooten recorded at the 19th Hole club in Indianapolis back in 72. Damn, it's a sizzler of a session. The 10-minute-long opening rip through Monkey Hips And Rice confirms the track's holy grail status for Midwestern funk collectors, and the tough thumping In The Rain is dope in ways that make Madlib 's tacked-on retouch seem totally superfluous. Check for it at www.dustygroove.com
Sleepwalker dream session
From the first Sleepwalker single, it was apparent that the Osaka-based dance jazz combo of Hajime Yoshizawa , Tomokazu Sugimoto , Nobuaki Fujii and Masato Nakamura had potential for greatness. They're now confirming it with their awesome new Especial label 12-inch single co-produced by Kyoto Jazz Massive 's Shuya Okino . It's definitely a double A-side job, with the Pharoah Sanders -charged hymn to Strata East The Voyage on the top side, backed with the no less enchanting club mover Into The Sun, which comes sweetened with some sexy scatting by Bembe Segue . Righteous. www.especial-records.com
Jump up Jamaican style
Those looking to heat up their Caribana weekend soirée with some booty-bumpin' roots reggae jams need to search out the fab Funky Kingston (Trojan/Sanctuary) comp. Along with the floor-filling title track from Toots & the Maytals - headlining the Irie Music Fest at Nathan Phillips Square Sunday (August 1) - the disc is packed with wicked reggae-style covers of 70s funk jams like Lloyd Charmers 's take on the Meters ' Look-ka-py-py, Phyllis Dillon 's raging rendition of Marlena Shaw 's Woman Of The Ghetto, the Chosen Few 's twist on Isaac Hayes 's Do Your Thing and 17 more surefire party starters.
At the same time that Devo 's Mothersbaugh brothers were testing out their devolutionary theory of rock 'n' roll, fellow Akron residents Wilbur Niles and his Moog-strapped sidekick Machelle McNeal were giving jazz and disco a similar rethink. Their resulting Thrust project was eventually released in small numbers back in 79 to understandably negligible response, since the twerked-out grooves of Hypertension and Punk Funk were roughly 25 years ahead of the curve. Thanks to deep digger Dante Carfagna , Chocolate Industries has just reissued the McNeal & Niles masterwork - dubbed from vinyl - which makes you wonder when Interpol , the Rapture , the Walkmen and the rest will catch up.